Our Top 5 Traditional Bridal Jewellery

A marriage is a sacred celebration. No matter where you are in the world, a marriage is celebrated with utmost joy and excitement. Whilst every culture and region around the globe has their own traditions, few aspects remain a constant part of the extravaganza. The bridal trousseau, which all the guests and well-wishers as well as the to-be-couple eagerly anticipate, comprises the wedding outfits and accessories that the bride and groom wear on their wedding day. A special part of this ensemble is of course, the jewellery, which holds great sentimental value. While the wedding outfits feature only on “the day”, the jewellery, including wedding rings, remains a daily symbol of their everlasting love. Also, it becomes a part of the union of the two individuals.

In this article we celebrate the diversity of bridal jewellery in our top 5 picks with rich heritage and tradition from around the world.

Native American Bridal Jewellery

Almost all modern and evolving cultures take inspiration from the tradition of engagement rings and weddings bands synonymous with a western wedding. Contrary to this typical visual, Native American bridal jewellery comprised of a combination of metals and gemstones. It is said that the lady’s ring would be made with sterling silver and studded with turquoise. The gent’s ring however would contain opals. However, the Christian Church introduced rings to be a part of the ceremony only in the 12th century when they declared marriage to be a holy sacrament. Prior to that, rings were not mandatory for being wedded.

Initially rings were only worn by women, but during World War II, American and European Soldiers also wore rings to remind them of their beloved wife. Additionally, this trend soon rippled down to the common man, where precious metals and precious gemstones were a focus, oozing in prestige. Overtime, strong marketing by diamond market monopoly- DeBeers, influenced the concept of an engagement ring and use of ‘unbreakable’ diamonds in bridal jewellery claiming “a diamond is forever”. This gave birth to the ever evolving market of engagement rings, wedding bands, anniversary bands, and various other variants that we see widely today and associate with the western world.

The Irish Wedding Ring

As the story goes, a local fisherman in Claddagh was captured by pirates and forced to be a slave in Morocco. There, he worked for a goldsmith, and soon turned into one himself with all the experience. Once he was freed and united with his to-be wife, he presented her with a ring that he had made for her as a wedding ring. The design of the ring was two hands holding a heart that had a crown on top. The hands symbolised friendship, the heart- love and the crown- loyalty.

Variations of the Claddagh ring today have the heart motif set with a heart shaped diamond or coloured stone. It is sometimes used as an engagement ring or even a promise ring.

The Russian Wedding Ring

Also called ‘Triple Rolling Rings’, the Russian wedding band comprises of 3 rings interlinked with each other to combine into one ring. It is usually tri-colour with interlocking rings in white gold, yellow gold and rose gold. It derives its symbolism from the Holy Trinity of Christian orthodox religion.  The three rings also represent the couples past, present and future.

Modern adaptations allow endless opportunities to customise this concept. Today people choose to have a trinity with a diamond studded band or even with gemstones. Cartier Trinity rings are one such example of a traditional concept reliving itself through the years.

Indian Bridal Jewellery

Indian heritage richly influenced jewellery from the Indus Valley Civilization, Mughal era as well as through temples and architecture from the south of the country. Religion and tradition in India holds high esteem even today. As with traditional times, the great Indian Wedding is a long lasting affair. The bride and groom are both always adorned with jewels at every ceremony. Picture this scene: men and women laden with precious gemstones and diamonds dripping from head to toe. This is in fact the sight to behold at an Indian wedding.

For the bride, starting from the head, dangles a ‘Maang tika’. It is a hair ornament preciously studded in intricate designs falling down the center of her forehead. Matching long hanging earrings and layers of necklaces drape her neck. The ‘Nath’, a nose ring, considered a tribute to the Hindu deities, is an essential part of the attire. Red and white bangles symbolise a married woman and are said to bring fertility and prosperity. It also brings about a flowering bond between the couple. Arm bands call ‘Bajuband’ are worn by both the bride, and the groom. Toe rings and anklets are a part of the ensemble too. The groom is equally laden with jewellery from turban pins to layered necklaces and chunky rings. These traditional bridal ornaments are prevalent even today in India.

A Little Aside: The Gem Monarchy Wedding – A Hybrid Sri Lankan Wedding

We direct you towards our special and joyous occasion. Our founder Punala, and his fiancée, Deema, entered into matrimony. Here are some wonderful snaps of their custom jewellery featuring in the wonderful occasion. Deema wore the custom pendant as the first piece in the bridal set. Being a coloured gemstone boutique, it features all sapphires ranging from peach to pink to white. The unique part is that the pendant has an additional attachment. It additionally features all sapphire with a light peach center-stone of 1 carat. The design allows the wearer to either wear it for a cocktail setting or a dainty everyday necklace.

Secondly, the accompanying earring set features, once again, all sapphires climbing up each ear. They are also in the peach, pink and white colour scheme. They work beautifully in tandem to compliment the bride’s darker skin tone and the theme of the wedding.

Chinese Bridal Jewellery

Traditional yellow gold Chinese bridal jewellery has a plethora of sentiment, tradition and auspicious meanings. Each piece of jewellery is filled with evident symbolism and is said to carry well-wishes from the older generations to the young couple.

Traditionally, gold jewellery was only gifted by the grooms family to the bride but today, it is gifted by both sides of the family. On the big day, the bride wears dragon and phoenix bangles symbolizing the concept of yin and yang bringing harmony and balance to their happy marriage. The bride also wears a gold pig necklace featuring a mother pig and a row of piglets. Yes, you guessed the symbolism- abundance & fertility for the newlyweds. Another symbolic aspect of the jewellery worn is, “four pieces of gold”, which is said to manifest prosperity. Like in most Asian countries, for Chinese weddings, a well known belief is that the more gold the couple wears, the wealthier their family becomes.


Tradition for some can be simple, and for others can be extremely elaborate. Ornamentation is a big part of tradition and design is an essential element of sentiment to the occasion.We have selected our top five traditional bridal jewellery pieces that combine minimalistic and grand concepts. These designs can be easily adapted to modern tastes by incorporating various metal colors, diamonds, and colorful gemstones. What are your favourites?

Samantha C. Pais, GIA GG

Samantha is a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America. Founder of Curious Carat on Instagram, Samantha has over a decade of experience in the international jewellery industry, which shines through her work for The Gem Monarchy.


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